Covers what the Tesla Dashcam feature does, if your vehicle has the dashcam feature, and how it compares with other third-party dashcams.
The Tesla Dashcam
Tesla has a number of cool features – a Dashcam that records video while driving from 4 cameras (front, both side repeaters, and rear), Sentry mode that can record a 10-minute clip when it detects a person moving nearby, crash event video save, and view the video on the car’s screen.
Vehicles That Include the Dashcam
These video recording features are currently available on all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, as well as Model S and X vehicles made after July 31, 2017.
The Model S and X with HW2.0 (vehicles made after 1-Oct-2016) that have been upgraded with the AP3 processor get a limited dashcam that only includes the front and side cameras. Currently, on HW2.0 cars, the quality is not ideal, with some streaking and lost frames, even with very fast memory.
The dashcam feature requires you to supply a flash drive that plugs into one of the two USB ports in the front of the car.
There is a wide range of flash drives, but selecting the wrong drive creates problems, such as failed drives, incomplete images, or other strange problems. Most problems can be eliminated by using the right type of flash drive as we explain in Memory Requirements.
When compared with third-party dashcams, the Tesla dashcam is a bit limited, but the price (free) is right and doesn’t require any special installation. It doesn’t perform nearly as well as the best dashcams, such as the BlackVue DR900S-2CH.
|Feature||Tesla Dashcam||BlackVue DR900S-2CH|
|Front camera||1280 x 960 narrow-angle (~40°)||3840 x 2160 (2160p) 162°|
|Side cameras||1280 x 960 75°, rear-biased||1920 x 1080 (1080p) 139° * (optional)|
|Rear camera||1280 x 960 135°||1920 x 1080 (1080p) 139°|
|Frame rate||36 fps||30 fps (optional 60 fps at 1080p)|
|Color||yes, front muted||yes, normal|
|Memory Use||3 GB/hour, 4 cameras||17.5 GB/hour front & back|
|Maximum Recording||60 minutes max||Up to limit of memory|
|Video Stamps||none||Timestamp and GPS location|
|WiFi auto upload to Cloud||No||Yes|
|In car Viewer||Yes||No|
* Side cameras can be installed with a second DR900S. With a four-camera setup, usually, the 2160p cameras are mounted front and rear, and the 1080p cameras are mounted on each side of the car.